Parents evening double whammy

Books and stationary on a school desk


Parents evenings are like buses. You have a dearth and then two come along at once, on the same day. First was only son’s. I was slightly late, which turned out to be a positive in that I only had to sit on the teeny tiny chair and read his books for about 10 minutes. His first English writing exercise was interesting. It was about his summer holidays. It began: “After a desastrously long journey”. Hmm.

Only son is not a fan of the long drive to Spain. Hence his desire to spend this summer at the hotel next to Tesco, five minutes from our house. There was another entry about some sort of Minecraft video which ended with “and the good thing was they didn’t swear”. Hmm. I have been listening in to the Minecraft commentaries and have told him to turn them off if he hears any bad words. I can’t for the life of me understand what the attraction is in watching other people play computer games, but when you look at the views they have they are in the millions and I imagine the majority of viewers are aged around six. I watched a Minecon conference once. All the familiar faces came up – the guy with the purple hair, Stampy, the bearded guy with the kid…It seems they are actual people and don’t just live inside Youtube.

Anyway, the parents evening did not go so well. Only son has been getting a bit distracted and has moved down the traffic light system, past ‘Oops I made a mistake’ even, which sounds serious. Could I have words?  Apparently he can also be very blunt in his treatment of other children. I said I would talk to him, but I feel part of the problem may be family dynamics. He’s fourth so he basically has to be fairly feisty, particularly with regard to daughter two.

There are, however, a lot of positives to being number four. Being feisty is a double-edged sword, but being around older siblings who are quite sharp means only son has developed very good verbal and reasoning skills and a strong sense of justice [mainly with regard to himself and his rights, but it’s a start]. He knows quite a bit about the world. He gets a LOT of cuddles yet is able to negotiate the political minefield that is hormone-based pre-teens [daughter three] and teens. He knows who major political figures are, has a great appreciation of trendy music such as The 1975 and understands the finer points of I’m a Celeb.

Next up for parents evening was daughter three. She is going on a trip to France later in the year and there was a meeting about what she needed to take, expected behaviour, etc. Daughter three will not be allowed a mobile phone so she will have to rely on postcards. I have warned her against sending the kind of postcard I received from daughter two on the same trip two years ago. Having warned daughter two not to do anything at all risky, she sent a postcard which consisted mainly of telling me how she had picnicked on a cliff and had nearly fallen over the top. This is not what I call reassuring.

There are no other parents evenings this week, but today there’s a Mother’s Day event at primary school. Only son gave me his card on Monday. Every day is Mother’s Day for him.

It’s a regular week then, but events on Wednesday are, of course, on everyone’s minds and certainly on mine – I have a few friends working in Westminster. I spoke to the kids after I got back on Wednesday in case they were anxious, but they have, it seems, grown up in an age of constant anxiety and are in a way used to it or at least don’t want to talk about it. The important thing is to live each day as it comes and carry on as normal.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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